“You gotta do things you’ve never done to get things you’ve never had.”
The concept was burned into my brain by a horsemanship mentor years ago.
I filed the pithy wisdom into the section of my brain reserved for “horse information.”
Yet I later realized it wasn’t about at horses at all— it was about life.
Every nook and cranny of the internet is currently filled with chatter about new year goals, resolutions, anti-goals, anti-resolutions, and everything in between.
I’ve debated adding to the noise as I’m certain you don’t need another explanation of how to set “SMART goals” (le sigh)
You see, There’s nothing magical about January 1st. In fact, I think it actually seduces people into believing one can only start anew when there are fresh calendar pages.
That’s not true.
However, there is something about the energy of a new year that prompts reflection. And while I believe in taking imperfect and decisive action all year long, I do enjoy riding that “fresh new page” energy as long as I can.
So let’s talk about how to do a homestead reset.
Because, perhaps, there are things on your homestead (or life in general) that you didn’t love last year.
There were parts of our homestead I certainly could have managed better…
Failures in crops and food production…
Aspects of our businesses that needed more TLC…
And places I completely dropped the ball…
I’ve spent a generous chunk of time reflecting and licking my wounds, but now? It’s time for a fresh page and a new start.
“New Year New You” only works if you do something different than you do last year.
Seems obvious, right? But it’s so easy to fall into old patterns.
We’ll set ourselves up for Groundhog Day-style repeat of last year’s missteps unless we take an ACTIVE role in figuring out what went wrong in the previous year and develop a plan to course correct.
To avoid doing the same thing and expecting different results (aka the definition of insanity) I use a framework I like to call my Homestead Reset Rx.
Step by Step Process for a Homestead Reset Rx:
Think about the goals you set at the beginning of last year:
- Were they realistic? (or were you setting yourself up for failure before you even started?)
- Did they really matter to you? (or were you just wanting it because you saw others doing it?)
Consider what you did/didn’t do to attain those goals. What went wrong? What went right?
- Did you have a plan or just let life happen?
- Did anything unexpected happen that derailed your plans?
- What parts within your control could you have done differently?
Now that you’ve identified the gap of where you wanted to be and where you ended up, come up with a plan to prevent the same derailments from happening again.
- How can you gather more data about the situation?
- How can you put measures in place to reduce human error?
- How can you create systems/processes to create consistent progress?
My favorite part— action time. Even if your reset involves seasonal things, DO NOT WAIT to take the first step.
- Write down everything you discovered in this process. (Because you will forget!)
- Order anything you may need ASAP (That includes books, supplies, etc)
- Find mentors in any trouble areas and have conversations now.
- Map out deadlines & milestones in your planner so time doesn’t get away from you.
A Example of a Homestead Reset Plan
Need a concrete example? Let’s use gardening. If I wanted to make a comeback from a rough gardening year, here’s how I’d do it.
Let’s say you wanted to grow a year’s worth of food… but it didn’t happen. It was an admirable goal, but was it realistic for your location and skill level?
Or maybe you wanted to grow a 800 pounds of potatoes. Was your heart truly in it, or did you maybe say that at the beginning of the year because it seemed like a cool stunt for Youtube?
Sure, it’s a worn out cliche, but it’s true: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. There have been many years when I set lofty garden goals, but failed to plan for the space or soil health needed to actually accomplish those things.
If you’re wanting a banner garden year, it starts NOW (yes, even if you plant in June like I do).
And I get it— sometimes even the best plans are waylaid. (My peaceful little garden plans imploded in 2022 when I ended up dropping everything to rewrite huge pieces of my book at my editors request…) But we’re going to plan ahead as much as we can right now.
If I find myself struggling in the garden year after year, I probably need to adjust my strategy. How? It’s time to gather more data and education.
- I may test my soil to see if there’s something going on at an invisible level
- I’ll double-check my seeds for viability (use this simple test)
- I’ll research my climate/location to make sure I’m growing the right varieties for my area
- I may decided to stop growing as many plants and focus on a few until I get in a consistent rhythm (quality > quantity)
- I might rethink my watering system (Too much? Not enough?)
- I may create a system to stay consistent on weeding/checking so chores don’t get away from me
Most of my garden post-mortems happen in the dead of winter, which means I can’t get outside and start digging.
So I do everything possible to set myself up for success during the quiet months. I may:
- Order soil test kits
- Order new/different seeds
- Sketch out a new planting map and put planting dates in my planner
Final Thoughts on a Homestead Reset
The moral of the story- no matter what “failures” you’ve had, your homestead is never too far gone.
I’ve never heard an honest homesteader report a perfect year across the board. There’s always something that falls through the cracks, something we could have done better, and something to improve.
And that’s normal and healthy. Because if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And what fun would life if there wasn’t a new mountain to climb?!
Happy New Year friends!
P.S. There’s still time to grab your 2024 Old-Fashioned on Purpose planner! It’s what I use to track all of our homestead stuff and way more!